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‘Listen to science and get vaccinated’: NSW Health Minister urges multicultural communities

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By Andriana Simos and John Voutos.

The New South Wales Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, has urged multicultural communities to ‘listen to science and get vaccinated’ during an online conference with multicultural media on Thursday, August 5.

The conference, which was also attended by Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, provided an update on the COVID-19 outbreak across the state and the current vaccination rollout.

Minister Hazzard addressed the over 60 people in attendance by stressing that “young people are dying” from COVID-19 and nearly 70 percent of the local cases being reported daily in NSW are people under the age of 40.

Left: NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard. Right: NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant. Photo: Andriana Simos.

“So the short answer is, go to your pharmacy, go to your doctor or come along to one of our state vaccination hubs and get the AstraZeneca if you’re eligible and you’re certainly eligible in our state hubs if you’re 18 or over,” Minister Hazzard said.

While Minister Hazzard quickly concurred with Dr Chant that there are small risks associated with the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, he said the risks and consequences of getting the virus are worse.

“If people don’t get vaccinated, they don’t look after themselves, they don’t look after their families, they don’t look after their friends and of course it means we stay in lockdown even longer. We need people to listen to science, medicine and get vaccinated,” Minister Hazzard stressed.

The Health Minister added that more work needs to be done within multicultural communities to spread this vaccination message and they’re working closely with different leaders from those communities to help out.

Minister for Multiculturalism, Natalie Ward (R), was also in attendance at the conference. Photo: Andriana Simos.

“What I think is the more people in the community that have it [the vaccine], they become the ambassadors for having it and they’ll tell others,” the Health Minister said.

Minister Ward agreed with Minister Hazzard about this and also thanked religious and community leaders for helping get stay at home messages across to their community members.

“I know that I can stand here as a politician and I can say ‘go and get vaccinated,’ but when you hear that from your own leader in your community, in your own language, it has a lot more effect… that’s why it’s so important,” the Minister for Multiculturalism concluded.

‘1.5 meters just doesn’t cut it with Delta’:

This conference came just one day after NSW Health’s Dr. Jan Fizzell and NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward fronted another meeting with multicultural media on Wednesday. 

Australia’s vaccination rollout and social distancing were the primary topic of discussion as the state’s daily cases of COVID-19 continue to climb. 

In response to a question from The Greek Herald, Minister Ward discussed the potential for vaccinating the families of essential workers

“We’re always following the health advice and at the moment it is as it is. I think that we’re always considering the potential to keep people safe,” Ward responded.  

Dr. Jan Fizzell implored young people to accept the “dangerous” risk of COVID-19 following Wednesday’s COVID-19-related death of a 27-year-old man – the youngest person to die of COVID in NSW since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“…[It shows] again that COVID-19 is dangerous not just to the older people but to the young people…,” she said.  “It’s so important for our elderly community to get vaccinated.” 

She adds that social distancing alone is no match for the Delta variant currently gripping many Australian states.  

“… 1.5 metres just doesn’t cut it with [the Delta variant],” Fizzell says. 

“[The Delta variant] is about 10 times more infectious. People have about 1000 times more viral particles than they had with the original strain of COVID.” 

“…If we don’t want to give COVID that opportunity to spread… that’s when we need to try and show our love for each other by instead of doing what we normally do to show love which is to go to somebody and be with them, it’s to actually show love and say, ‘I understand why you can’t be here’.” 

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